Can we articulate what aesthetics is?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by roome jee, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. We at some degree do recognize what originality is, but do we
    understand what aesthetics is?

    I don?t want to start with my own comments as to keep the biasness

    Am doing a research paper on this topic, your reviews will be of
    great help.
  2. The dictionary definitions of "aesthetics" and related words are pretty clear. That would be a good place to start.
  3. We can try to articulate our senses but we cannot
    understand it fully since it's intrepetational at best.
    Perhaps certain things are meant to be felt
    and not understood like art, love, David Lynch films etc...
  4. aesthetics is a born quality. feeling the collection of thoughts and expressing these thoughts into materialism. Some people are good in visualising things so that the expressions reflects the inner thought. as far as the artistic aesthethics is consern the aesthetics is to look things in a way where most of the people dont notice things.
  5. The answers above are valid but what KIND of aesthetics are you talking about. Those relating to imagery, such as posted here, the kind relating to architecture? to music? Give us some more feedback.
  6. Leslie HA David Lynch films that's funny.... so true.
  7. there are far too many variables to come to a concrete conclusion to such a general question.....
  8. In my opinion, 'aesthetics' is a weasel word for personal taste.
  9. Thank you Richard Milner, I have gone through the dictionary. But what I am looking for was not explained.

    You are very right leslie cheung these things are to be felt, but I have embarked in a quest to express it in words.

    Yes AASIF RASHID you are correct but what is Artistic Aesthetics. I want to find out why people rate some pictures as high in Aesthetics. What are the main ingredients of a picture, which makes them Aesthetically good?

    Dear John Falkenstine I am interested in Photographic Aesthetics more importantly I want know why people rate some pictures as good in aesthetics in fact I want to find out the ingredients so people can cook better pictures.

    Yes Grant I am afraid there are many variables but, this is a thirst and I have to quench

    I hope this has given some directions to what is the question in hand
  10. >>>I am interested in Photographic Aesthetics more importantly I
    want know why people rate some pictures as good in aesthetics
    in fact I want to find out the ingredients so people can cook better
    pictures. <<<

    Form, Content, Perspectives, color (or lack of), tonality, bokeh,
    light quality, vantage points, focus, framing among others are
    ingredients. Good ingredients may not alway produce a great
    photo however some lacking photo may appeal to some. It all
    depends on the audience. Really though *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* the audience,
    shoot what deems appealing to you as an individual unless
    acourse you are shooting and $elling for someone else;O)
  11. Aesthetics without content is nothing... If everybody like a photo it will be good for wallpaper or screen saver but will not qualify as an artistic work. Both are important. I've got 2, 3 pictures with strong content, some that tell a story and many aesthetic only pictures... Few care about content here.
  12. Yes leslie cheung and mondiani, i want to know those aspects of the trained eye.
  13. Aesthetich is very subjective.
    You can to check in dictionary but always every people will be understood this a bit of differently.
    Simple ,if you like any photo you give high rate and ..... :).
    I think that we should give rates so as tell you your inside voice.
    If you will apply to definition then result could be bad, bacause you will be very like any photo and definition rank will be bad.
    I am a amaterur photographer and truly i think as amateur too but on this site is more such men as I
  14. And i must write this ,aesth.. and orginl.. it to little in order to well estimate photo.
  15. Actually I think a deeper discussion of aesthetics should go beyond photography, unless your research article is defined only within the scope of photograhy.

    To me, an aestheically appealing art work presents life, which is truth, good and beauty. To me, death is not beautiful, even it has dignity that I recognize. You can tell that I belong to a classic school in this sense, but I don't belong to any religion, which devides mankind.

    When you see deep down in any culture, you see similar things in arts that present beauty in life. What it implies is that beauty must be universal, it is about life.
  16. The perception of aesthetic quality is a result of the perception of purity of intent in the object/scene/landscape/athletic act/whatever you want to put here/.

    Any thing or any act that arrises from impeccable purity of intent will produce the perception of aesthetic value in anyone who is attuned to such things. Aesthetics is a result of the ultimate spiritual nature of man and the universe manifesting itself in that intent.

    You can see I tend to have a metaphysical bent.
  17. I have observed that top rated pictures in Aesthetics are mostly Landscape showing countryside. Do we have some link here between Aesthetics and Sceneries?

    Results taken from "Period=All" and "by:Aesthetics"
  18. First of all to me aesthetics is strictly a subjective stuff: what is aesthetically good to me might be not so good to any others. I then think that aesthetics is a combination of primary sensations made of emotions, personal inclinations, and formal education. The last point, for example, might be important here on PN where professionals meet each others with amateurs: professionals might gave their respectable opinion based on a techs stuff mixed to emotional sensations while amateurs might prefer sensations over technicalities.
  19. Michele Berti, in my opinion subjective, also has a pattern. Like what most of the people like to appreciate.
    and emotions, personal inclinations, and formal education, must also have some thing common among individuals.

    Do we still from deep inside prefer to be as free as a bird? And have no boundaries. is that the reason we prefer sceneries. Do we feel confined, because of which we don?t rate pictures high, which give us feelings of being caged.
  20. To me, something I rate high in aesthetics makes me feel strongly one way or another. If it's not out of focus, the lighting suits the picture, and the composition overall is well done, for me, the subject matter then has to "reach" me. If it does, even if the image is disturbing or not "pretty", then it's aesthetically well done, imo.
  21. Roome, I'll contain my reply to your research paper question with my observations on this site. I think there are two parts to ones aesthetics sense: first as an observer, and another as an artist/creator. <br><br>The former might include a primitive response to a visual stimulus of felt significance such as nudes, unusual or familiar landscapes, or some cleverness to an image we interpret as aesthetics expressed through originality. The level of agreement (on what's beautiful) is likely influenced by ones exposure to prior art, in other words, you're likely less impressed if you've been desensitized through many prior experiences. <br><br>It's quite a different matter when one puts on ones artist/creator hat - everyone has a palette for fine cuisine, but not everyone is a fine chef. In this instance, I suspect ones aesthetics sense is an expression mostly from drawing on ones life experiences as observers or learners.
  22. To me aesthetics is that part of anything we encounter in life ,a sunset, child's face ,a
    beautiful building , statue,photograph. The feelings that this experience provokes in me,is
    the aesthetic experience. I think as humans we are drawn to universal themes by genetics.
    It has been shown that children are drawn to the shape of the face as a very young age, so
    they can find their mother.As adults we are drawn to the same things ,but with a expanded
    consciousness, that is made up from experience. The photographs I am most drawn to are
    the ones that cause me to feel something.I think Ansel Adams landscapes are beautiful
    ,but although technically perfect his people photos leave me cold. I guess its like the judge
    said,I am not sure how to define it ,but I know it when I see it,(or feel it).
  23. Synonyms always help me. For me, "aesthetics" is synonymous with "beauty," and "originality" with "creativity." In other words, for me originality deals with the artist and his/her craft, and aesthetics deals with the subject matter itself. Make sense?
  24. Roome: It seems to me that aesthetics involves whatever stirs our brain's pleasure chemicals through any or all of our senses. I mean this seriously.
  25. To me, aesthetics are like the surface of the cultural waters, always changing to suit the
    volume and mixture of the culture that makes up the water but also that which rises to the
    top and is recognized by the majority. Landscapes do well on because all cultures
    can recognize this common form.
  26. If aesthetics is concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty, particularly in art, then I believe it can be both inherent and learned. It's culturally based as can be seen in the appreciation of certain physical attributes among races or in native art. The prevalence of landscape images in the TRP is probably because it is a natural subject and therefore hasn't had so much human influence on its design, particularly unmanipulated landscape. Art imitates nature, sometimes well and sometimes not so well. I think that's where aesthetics comes into it; does art connect us to some aspects of nature through the use of colour, form, shape, rhythm, texture etc. and does it evoke an emotional response.
  27. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    It is an emotional resonance between that which is observed and the observer. Just as the strings of a violin will sympathetically vibrate in response to a certain acoustic stimulus, so to the psyche of humanity in response to the conveyed emotion. The greater the reinforcement in the emotional vibration, the greater the response of the observer. Regardless of it being auditory, visual, or tactile, all of one's senses are involved in the experience. It transcends culture and persists through time.

    Being of only average intelligence, I myself tend to concentrate on the genre mentioned in your study. A Landscape is a portrait of humanity's place of creation. It is, for me, a view into life's begining, as well as life's journey to its future. Regards.
  28. To me some thing aesthetically good must contain emotions.
    How many of us are from the same school of thought?
  29. Hmm.... Just ignored me.

    While many of you are thinking in terms of emotional reaction to the image being the source of "aesthetic" appreciation, you are not addressing the origins of that emotion. Why do you react emotionally?

    Arguing it's genetic (and hence evolutionary) is to continue to ignore the question. Why would we have an evolutionary genetic code that produces an emotional reaction to things like the stone and sand patterns in a Zen garden? There is something more to aesthetics than just learned responses to "pretty" things or patterns useful for survival (like babies noticing faces).

    Why is music? What is humor? Dance? All these things are symptoms of man's aesthetic appreciation, and they all must be included in thinking about an explanation of the aesthetics of photography.
  30. So is the purpose of this forum to just start from scratch with every basic philosophical question? These have come up before over, say, the last 2500 years or so - and in more exhaustive detail than "the dictionary" provides. Then again, maybe we should just let pop culture icons decide: I propose that it's whatever litmus test Martha Stewart uses to pronounce something "a good thing."
  31. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Well, John, maybe Roome would just like to know what we all think. I did not have a problem putting forth my thoughts concerning his question. After all. the patient is not going to die if we make a mistake here. But I think that you're on to something with Martha. Regards.
  32. Personally I find it ridiculous to reduce 'originality' and 'aesthetics' to a seven point scale so I never bother, and I ignore any ratings given my own images.

    As to why people tend to rate landscapes highly, I have to assume that they like them the best.

    The interpretation of 'aesthetics' is significantly subjective, though there are rules and methods of thinking about this topic, which influence people.

    As for originality, unless I have seen and can remember every picture ever taken, how can I possibly decide how original an image is?
  33. If we accept that beauty is the positive value for aesthetics, maybe you will find interesting this graffity, that in a public wall statted:

    "Beauty will be eatable,
    or will be nothing!"

  34. One definition is the appreciation of beauty but another definition is the appreciation of art. Although a lot of art is based on beauty, that is much less true in modern art which is often based on abstract or psychologically challenging themes.
  35. Well to me I'll keep it simple when it comes to, aesthetics is
    simply the feeling a picture gives me and the emotion and mood it portrays.
    Pat -
  36. first of all Thank you so much for inviting me over to this topic
    it's really interesting something really need to discuss .I have nothing to add but ,please accept this image
  37. Aesthetics is the special way your eye sees it so that you take the picture to show that special way of seeing it to the world.

    Aesthetics is seeing in other people's photographs their special thoughts about the subject.
  38. As opposed to the way your eye hears?

    Or the way your nose sees?
  39. Leslie Cheung named ingredients of a good image. I'd like to add that to me aesthetics is a blance of these ingredients.
    My 2 cents.
  40. When considering aesthetic issues conversationally, I try to keep in mind the term
    Function: adjective
    1 : of, relating to, or capable of producing anesthesia
    2 : lacking awareness or sensitivity
    I like the last one "lacking awareness or sensitivity"
    A particular aesthetic sensibility can be unappealing to some, yet still be recognized as having a pronounced and particular awareness and sensitivity.
    Consider the aesthetic of -Heronimous Bosch or Joel Peter Witkin-, as compared to the aesthetic of -William Eggleston or Robert Adams- and to that of -Paul Strand and Lee Freidlander-. They may not share a common aesthetic, yet they possess a distinct and undeniable awareness that is expressed consistently in their work, and can thereby be recognized as genuine.
    A shared aesthetic may be a pleasant experience, but a new, strange aesthetic is a challenging and refreshing one that can awaken in you a sensibility other than that which you already knew... t
  41. I meant to add, that a work lacking in aesthetic sensibility creates in me no response... an intellectual numbness similar to novocaine on my lip. <p>So while I may not be able to define "aesthetics", I can recognize its absence... t
  42. I'll try one more time since Tom Meyer is hinting in the same direction with:
    "Consider the aesthetic of -Heronimous Bosch or Joel Peter Witkin-, as compared to the aesthetic of -William Eggleston or Robert Adams- and to that of -Paul Strand and Lee Freidlander-. They may not share a common aesthetic, yet they possess a distinct and undeniable awareness that is expressed consistently in their work, and can thereby be recognized as genuine."


    What they all share, the common denominator, the essential essence of aesthetics is that "awareness that is expressed consistently" and "can be recognized as genuine".

    But, awareness of what? Genuine in what sense?

    My original post spoke of aesthetic appreciation rising from awareness of purity of intent. The aesthetic experience is the awareness (whether conscious or uncounscious) of that genuine connection with truth that some people can express in art of all forms, from painting to photography to dance to athletics.

    The ability to connect with that purity of intent gets talked about in many ways. Religions call it "grace", poets talk of a "muse", athletes talk about the "zone", but it's all the same thing. It's a state of "connectedness" that allows one to create something that can connect others with the same purity.
  43. I don't think that I can provide a specific answer to the question that is significantly different from the responses above. However, I've read an interesting book that may provide a little insight. In the book "Drawing on the Artist Within", by Betty Edwards, the author asks the reader to draw several emotions such as joy, anger, peacefulness, etc. The drawings can't have recognizable symbols or specific objects - they just consist of lines and curves, differing pressure on the pencil, etc. I conducted the exercise as instructed, then compared my results to examples that were in the book. My results were surprising similar to the examples in the book. What this implies as it relates to aesthetics is that many people communicate in a similar way when it comes to a visual communication. A visual or 'artistic' communication is driven by the right side of the brain, whereas verbal communication and logic is controlled by the left side of the brain. If you've ever noticed that when you're "in the zone" taking photos or doing other artistic work, it's difficult to talk to others - you may seem a bit distant and have to "snap out of it" to have a meaningful conversation. This is because while you're in the artistic mode, your right brain is in control (that's the theory Betty Edwards presents).

    Trying to put aesthetics (right brain) into logical, systematic terms (left brain) is difficult. Many people get frustrated when the dominant, logical left brain isn't in control. However, when it comes to viewing and appreciating art, I think that we have to allow the non-logical side to take control.
  44. From a reductionist biologist's point of view, Aesthetics may merely be a sort of chemical reaction (yet to be characterised) occurring at the brain, triggered by some combination of sensory stimuli and resulting in the secretion of "well-being" hormones. But don't take me seriously, I am only a biologist.
  45. I understand where Romme is coming from, so I suggest a study of Japanese Aesthetics as I find it especially profound and relevant to my own aestectics/photography. Click on this url: Japanese Aesthetics for a excellent introduction on the subject by Donald Keene. I've quoted some snippets from the url below:

    In everything, no matter that it may be, uniformity is undesirable. Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting, and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth. Someone once told me, 'Even when building the imperial palace, they always leave one place unfinished.' . . . People often say that a set of books looks ugly if all volumes are not in the same format, but I was impressed to hear the Abbot Koyu say, 'It is typical of the unintelligent man to insist on assembling complete sets of everything. Imperfect sets are better.'

    A house, I know, is but a temporary abode, but how delightful it is to find one that has harmonious proportions and a pleasant atmosphere. One feels somehow that even moonlight, when it shines into the quiet domicile of a person of taste, is more affecting than elsewhere. A house, though it may not be in the current fashion or elaborately decorated, will appeal to us by its unassuming beauty -- a grove of trees with an indefinably ancient look; a garden where plants, growing of their own accord, have a special charm; a verandah and an open-work wooden fence of interesting construction; and a few personal effects left lying about, giving the place an air of having been lived in. A house which multitudes of workmen have polished with every care, where strange and rare Chinese and Japanese furnishings are displayed, and even the bushes and trees of the garden have been trained unnaturally, is ugly to look at and most depressing. How could anyone live for long in such a place?

    The famous Japanese tea ceremony is perhaps the most extreme example of the Japanese love of simplicity, or unobtrusive elegance. The ideal sought by the great teamaster Sen no Rikyu (1422-1491 was sabi, related to the word sabi, for "rust," or sabireru, "to become desolate." The sabi so esteemed by Rikyu was not the enforced simplicity of the man who could not afford better, but a refusal of easily obtainable, luxury, a preference for the rusty-looking kettle to one of gleaming newness. Even today Japanese are quite willing to spend a great deal of money on utensils for the tea ceremony, such as earthenware cups, which, to Western eyes, look quite ordinary.

    There are of course, other alternative aestectics!
  46. Here's my take before reading what is discussed and getting biased. Photography is inherrently a creative art. One makes a picture although one can mutiliate the subject matter for the purpose. It is logical to suppose that photo makers would be creative rather than destructive. As such, the viewpoint for a photographer becomes biased to begin with. Creativity presupposes order and harmony, consistence and consonance with the environment. Photographers search harmony even in pictures of war, even "original" gruesome depictions adhere to set norms of previously-broken-rules of composition. It would be good to learn from an older art form like `music' about aesthetics. There is pattern and regularity even when these are broken, there is composition in placement of higher and lower frequencies like color on a photograph, there are difference in qualities of sound, timbre (tone ;), like the "tonal" variations in a picture, an underlying regularity of percussion intruments ties music together however much the lead instruments might change, just like the individual parts of a picture need to "come-together" or "flow from one to the other". The opening bars are designed to lead you into the music, sometimes even by jarring the audience, a few "immediately-noticeable" items, which need not always be bright or contrasty, in a picture engage the viewer to "look-around" into it. People will think when they see a picture, always, and thoughts will always be different. There needs to be variation in the theme so that different thoughts are possible, even a pattern of windows needs to convey something more than just the pattern, maybe show the individuality of the elements or be part of some other larger theme or idea -- like rust on the POW last week. The more "social clues" a picture has, more will/of the audience will think likewise. Pictures of logging a rain-forest are not made to depict "profits", although it is possible to do so. There are set rules, working within which will ensure greater acceptance, a harmony with the viewer's ideas which may sometimes be called "aesthetically pleasing". Change-in-moderation is a part of that idea, called originality, and when blended in by an amount that the audience desires, will conform to the rules and "enhance aesthetics". I doubt if my granpa would have had a high opinion of "scantily clad women" in public beaches, but to my son on the beaches of Goa or California it would probably look "just cool" (I don't have a kid and go ga-ga so am giving it a generation more :) .
  47. Very subjective to be sure. But for me the goal with my landscape photos in particular is to convey a sense of longing to be where I was when I took the photo! I'm trying to capture not only the mood of the image, but MY mood. I want you to feel what I'm feeling no matter how remote that might be. That is my entire motivation for wanting to show the landscape in a certain form and context. This is why the beauty of the landscape alone...while a major component of that conveyance...isn't always enough. And the extra DIMENSION of aesthetics takes hold.
  48. We at some degree do recognize what originality is, but do we understand what aesthetics is?

    Most folk are conservative by nature...nice and safe. So, there's an understanding.
  49. Aesthetics in a photo is how well it keeps the eye, how hard it is to take your eyes from it, how well it invites you back to look at it after you've left it. It can be ugly, it can be beautiful. But it definitely invites you back.
    Aesthetics have nothing to do with the ingredients that form the aesthetic combination. Like said, it's the combination.
    Of course you can go on with an endless debate on what those ingredients are, but then you're not talking about aesthetics anymore. It's like examining human by human to understand what a nation is. Or like chopping wood trying to find out what forest is. You have to go there, open your mind and see it for yourself...
    But remember, when it comes to photos. The more aesthetic it is, the more itinvites you to look at it again and again.
    If you need to understand it better, don't try to disassemble the photo. Instead, try to understand yourself. The aesthetic photo plays you, like an instrument. The aesthetics raises from you. Inside.
    There is no spoon...
  50. I am new to this forum and haven't posted any photos yet, but I thought my two cents might as well be added to the comments. I think aesthetics is a zen concept. It is totally personal and is based upon each individuals life experiences. To one a photo of an ant crawling across a sheet of paper might express the universe and to another it is just an ant crawling on a piece of paper. Aesthetics is a word like beauty, it cannot be defined by words it is solely in the eye of the beholder.
  51. That's what you wrote to me. But unfortunately I was always bad at discussing these kind of questions.

    Maybe Aesthetics is, when most of the people are giving your picture a "7" ? Well no, this is just democracy. But are Aesthetics always voiced out by a majority ? Hehehe just another forum discussion theme for you ;-) Thank you for submitting this (eternal and unanswerable) question. cheers, chris
  52. Interesting Forum. I will be thinking about Aesthetics today in my next photoshoot. High aesthetic value means, having butterflies upon gazing at a revealed photograph. Somehow being moved by the captured moment.

  53. This is an extremely interesting thread to me. I've been very troubled in trying to rate photos here. I'm constantly debating whether to include my feelings about the subject into my feelings about the overall technical excellence of the image, or the composition, etc. For instance, I have an aversion to body tatoos, people smoking, gangs, pierced body parts, cluttered places, crude nudes, photos with elaborate frames around them, advertising, etc. If I were to rate such photos, I would rate them lower because they were not pleasant to me and they evoked negative feelings. So... one interpretation of aesthetics is something that we enjoy, or feel good about, or sense a personal beauty in viewing. I realize by the reaction of many members that this is not a unanimously held interpretation. I'm often told to just DON'T rate a photo if I don't like the subject.

    I also understand that a strong negative emotion evoked by a piece of art is "good" in that it causes you to pause, ponder, think, etc about the subject or what the photographer has felt or is trying to convey. However, I still might find it repulsive or unpleasant and thus want to rate it low in aesthetics.

    I find that most of the images rated high on tend to have these features (not in any order):

    1) simple compositions, converging lines, symmetrical
    2) contrast in color or shading
    3) few or mainly one subject that causes the mind to focus on it quickly.
    4) familiar scenes
    5) open landscapes
    6) mystery views (foggy, through leaves, roads leading to unknown areas, etc.)
    7) sex related

    I suspect I've left out a few, but generally, my overall sense of what beauty and aesthetics are from looking at the highly rated, most often rated, and viewed images are: simple, few contrasting colors of a single subject.

    This thread proves to me that aesthetics, like art, has no RIGHT answer, but is something that each individual develops over his experiences in time. To me it is interesting to discuss because I want to learn how to make more images that match my own version of aesthetic beauty.
  54. Thank you every one, for pouring in your thoughts, this has given a solid outline to my research study, with out you peoples help I would have been no where.

    There is one more point if I take data and pictures from the site, will I be infringing the copy right laws. I will mention the name of the site and the name of the photographer in my research paper. And will also provide my research paper to pubic and PN. As this will be a noncommercial paper.

    Main reason to do this research is to find out the factors which can be beneficial for all of us Photographers

    I have inquired this with PN officials but have not received any reply.

    Please keep on posting about Aesthetics. And expend our understanding. I will also like to know the email address of participators so I can send them the final copy of the paper.

    Once again thank you

    I love you all
  55. Aesthetics is highly subjective but here are the things I look for in a photograph:

    What is the subject of the photograph and is it clear what the subject of the photograph is suppose to be? What is my eye immediately drawn to?

    Are there things in the photo that distract from the subject?

    Then I will look at the lighting and decide if I think it works for this photo.

    I will look for any framing devices or leading lines.

    Sometimes I will squint at the photo to see it more as shapes, forms and colors.

    Is the subject in focus?

    Does the depth of field help or hurt the image?

    Are there things that could have been left out that don't necessarily distract from the subject.

    Do I have an emotional response to the image? What is it?

    And last but not least, do I wish that I had been able to make the photo?

    I don't know if this explains what aesthetics is, but the more of these that a photo has, more likely it is to get a 7 rating from me.
  56. tan


    Aesthetics or beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and are therefore very
    personal and subjective. One man's meat is another man's poison. If more
    than 50% of people think or say it's beautiful, than it must be beautiful. You
    cannot take any one person's personal opinion at face value, as he or she
    may not have the same taste as you or the masses. When we rate an image,
    our own individual preferences and taste comes into play, but if more people
    give you a 6 and fewer people give you a 4, your image can be considered
    having good aesthetics or beauty. It's really a consensus thing when it comes
    to judging an image.
  57. no, i cannot. we've learned this definition in school> nice is what you like without interest. but i don't agree with this. it's also true that you can find something aesthetic in this very second but then feel digusted by it the next day. (or just the opposite). anyways, i heard a better thing once from one good friend, "this might be a perfect picture for you because it evokes uneraseably beautiful memories or feelings." and that's what counts.
  58. My answer for local purposes is ... rhythm.
    But if you're doing a research paper, you know where you should be spending your time ... and it's not here.
  59. Hi Roome
    Thanx for inviting me to participate in the forum, its great to be part of photgraphers community here...

    To me aesthtics are in one's nature... even every one is aesthetically designed in every respect... its just a matter of knowing the word...even a begger does his job with some kind of aesthetics... which makes him earn...

    it is some kind of pattern which makes us appeal and attract to a particular subject matter...

    if i take example of the same photograph on which u invited me..... when i took the shot it was a simple one... as i reprinted it after couple of years my negatives were washed a bit and actually i thought my negatives are wasted but after reprintng them on differnt papers they actually turned out to be more interesting to me atleast... u may have a look on couple of more images..infact u might have... they are "on the graveyard wall" and nature against fabrication". its actually funny and interesting to know what others think the subject is... and well its being said on the basis of their own aesthetic sense...

    Thanx again and GOODLUCK 4 ur paper! u can mail me at

  60. Many members agree, that what is aesthetic is something that gives you a feeling. Regarding to the query, landscapes are aesthetic too. Both are right.
    Kant proposes a differentiation in his "Critique of Judgement", which deals with aesthetics as a philosophical discipline. Kant distinguishes between what is beautiful and what is sublime. I believe this distinction fits very well the discussion.
    According to Kant, beauty is something that could be agreed on, a painting can be beautiful to every group in which the notion of beauty is shared (landscapes in western society, for example). On the other side, what is sublime, is something that differs from individual to individual. I must stress that sublime is not beauty on second power but is something that touches the viewer's senses and encompass him or her with a mixture of feelings, which are not only positive ones. Kant uses as an example the eruption of a volcano, which is an experience of such a beauty and in the same time of great horror (things are much more complex, but i'm not going to resume all of his writing here).
    To sum up, both the notions of beauty and sublimeness are part of aesthetics, but on different levels. You can regard pleasing images as beautiful and thus rate them as highly aesthetic (if we are talking about the PN system); in the same time you can rate a shocking image, which is not pleasing, as highly aesthetic too. But this all applies to this Kantian differentiation. I myself rate pictures which have an added value as highly aesthetic, pictures, which would classify as sublime. The ordinary, beautiful, photos don't get more than 5.
  61. Estetics should be based on some kind of harmony that is revealed by our senses. Since our senses are made differently by genetic makeup (I think that cultural differences are being slowly washed out), the final outcome may slightly diverge.
  62. In philosophy, aesthetics is the study of beauty and taste, whether in the form of the comic, the tragic or the sublime. The word derives from the Greek aisthetikos, which means "of sense perception." Aesthetics has traditionally been part of other philosophical pursuits like the investigation of epistemology or ethics. However, it started to come into its own and become a more independent pursuit under Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who saw aesthetics as a unitary and self-sufficient type of human experience.

    Unfortunately, aesthetics is one of those concepts which is not easily broken down into simpler ideas, thus making it rather difficult to explain adequately. In general, when we speak of something that creates an aesthetic experience, we are usually talking about some form of art; yet the mere fact that we are discussing a work of art does not guarantee that we are also discussing aesthetics - the two topics are not equivalent. For one thing, not all works of art necessarily create an aesthetic experience. An example of this occurs when we look at a painting in an effort to determine how much we can sell it for - here, we are not viewing it aesthetically.

    Whatever the actual object in question, those studying aesthetics seek to understand why some things arouse positive reactions whereas others arouse more negative feelings. Why are we drawn to certain objects and repelled by others? The very question of how and why aesthetic experiences are created is itself also a subject of aesthetics. In this manner, the field of aesthetics begins to cross over into the Philosophy of Mind because it touches on how and why aspects of our brain and consciousness operate.

    Aesthetics also leads us to a variety of other issues regarding politics, morality, and more. For example, some have argued that an important component of the aesthetic experience is the desire for political action - thus, "good" art is that which gets us to try and improve society. At the same time, some critics argue that there is "bad" art which serves to subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) reinforce the status quo and create an "ideology" which helps keep certain groups of people not only out of power, but even from seeking it in the first place.

    With regards to morality, it has often been argued that certain images or ideas are inherently immoral and hence do not create a valid aesthetic experience. Anything with a strong sexual content has often been included in such a category, but many political leaders have also included material which does not encourage people to follow the dictates of the state.

    Interestingly, the very answer to the question of whether or not some particular work of art should be permitted will often depend upon how one approaches it - from a political, ethical, religious or aesthetic perspective. In effect, our responses are in large part determined by how we frame the question in the first place, but that issue crosses over into the Philosophy of Language.

    The basic questions asked in aesthetics include:

    What can life be like?
    What is beautiful?
    Why do we find certain things beautiful?
  63. Does Aesthetics involves all of our senses? - vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell - and emotions. <br><br>

    like <br><br>
    Visual weight<br>
  64. Roome ... Richard was pointing you in the right direction with his suggestion of a dictionary, because that is the answer to the question anyone would expect you to pose ... what does 'aesthetics' mean? It's also the natural starting point for your questions.
    You're asking if we can articulate it and if we understand it, and what you see above is the wide range of personal interpretations of the word. As several have implied, interpretations are down to 'who', 'where' and 'when'. Only you know how useful these responses might be for your paper as only you know the topic question you have been given.
    However, unless your paper specifically concerns the reactions of a limited segment of 'interested' parties who are web-savvy, it may not get you very far. Including myself in this segment, some of us may be very interested, and some may be very interesting, but it's still only off-the-cuff opinions of how individuals use a word. (And speaking personally, it's not a word that I use at all.)
    I'd suggest you need to begin with the variety of substantive definitions that you'd find in a range of dictionaries and specialist encyclopedias - and you will find that they differ. You would then be in a better position to interpret the above opinions in the context of prior research.
    And that's off the top of my head ... in my previous comment I was implying that it's a library you need, but I can understand that you may not have many resources available other than the web. It doesn't change the principle of your approach though ... and I think you will only get something more concrete here if you state your topic.
  65. Oops, last one out, close the bold
  66. Thank you Sandeha Lynch, your comments were of great help, please feel free to send me more suggestion. peoples like you gives me the direction and light.

    Thank you every one else, please keep on posting your valuable comments.
  67. Aesthethics is an individual view of a subject, design, situation, sound, scent, or many other possibilities. The old cliche' " I know it when I see it" is true for aesthethics , art, porn, beauty and many other subjects. Most of us just have a very hard time verbalizing our reasons for why we like or don't like something. Quite often I have to look at a photo many times to understand what makes me appreciate it. For me "subject" seems to be a very important factor in how I see aesthethics. I prefer to sort my viewing on photonet based more on originallity than aesthethics .
  68. The person who started this thread, Roome Jee, has been banned from the site because he posted a link/advertisement for this thread in 290 photo comment threads.
  69. Aesthetics is what the guy in authority thinks it is, at any given time and place. Truly, a debate about aesthetics can sometimes not really be aesthetic!
  70. Aesthetics to me is what you as a person sees or you as an artist wants to convey to get the message, view or opinion across. What is aesthetically pleasing to one person might not be to another. In example the Mona Lisa. I hate that picture. I think she is boring in my eyes. And, yes I have seen it in person.
    What John sees in his eyes can be quite different than what I see in my eyes but we both can find it aesthetically pleasing for different reasons.
    Susan LaBar-Schrum
  71. Start here:

    The Continental Aesthetics Reader
    by Clive Cazeaux
  72. Currently I'm reading, The Imagination as a Means of Grace by Ernest Tuveson, in
    which an abundant erudite ideas come forth in an endless flow of intrepretation on
    aesthetics, sublime, fancy, imagination. I have yet to undestand all thse complexe
    issures. I think Edmond Burke's ideas on the sublime and aesthetics needs some
    venturing on my part.
    I can tell this, besides technical considerations the moment of creation seems unreal,
    yet, all the more real for its time outside time. It's a contradiction of realities captured
    by a unique mind.
  73. "I want to find out the ingredients so people can cook better pictures."

    Who is going to judge whether or not a specific set of ingredients will make a better picture? Will it be the creator of the art or the observer? What is the objective of this "better picture"? Does getting the highest rating from the largest number of people define a "better picture?" Or is a "better picture" defined by the creator of the art who by judging his or her work decide they have achieved their goal by doing the best work they possibly can? As an artist my goal is to please myself. If others like my work then
    that's fine too but it's not my primary goal.

    The chaos theory is at work in all forms of art. Personal tastes dictates what each individual will define as aesthetically best. If you are instead using some set of rules to decide what is aesthetically best then you are missing the whole point of art which is to bring enjoyment to those who experience it.

    If you want a traditional definition of what makes a "better picture" you would do well to read books about composition. Looking for a specific set of ingredients to "cook better pictures" is a fools errand.

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